I have found it useful to deeply examine why I practice, study and devote my energies, heart and mind in this endeavor. I ask myself: what did I learn today and how is it meaningful? Why is it meaningful? How am I learning? And what is it that I am really learning? And who is this person who is learning? Jnana Yoga (or the path of knowledge) is about the realization of the true nature of one's truest self. Karma yoga (or the yoga of action) is about acting without clinging to a desired result. Lastly, Bhakti Yoga (or the path of devotion) is about offering up ones actions and ones very self to an universal principle, something profound and transcendent to which we can truly surrender, something so powerful that it actually makes our hearts larger. And it is important to remember that this devotion is inherently joyful which is why, according to Patanjali and Krishna in The Bhagavad Gita, it is so powerful. Joy is powerful. It brings each of us into a state of wholeness and completeness. And it brings us into communion not only with our deepest selves but with others. When our deepest selves come together, within ourselves, and with others, then we are not alone. We are in a state of communion. And when we feel less alone, our hearts become expansive and we are less afraid. We may even find, as Emerson describes, a common heart.
Ignorance and fear are powerful afflictions. Seeking and playing reduces them. Kriya Yoga (yoga of action) attenuates them. Kriya Yoga is comprised of Tapas ( the ferver to reduce these affliction), Svadyaya ( the study of one self and of text), and Isvara Pranidhana (true devotion and surrender). And through Kriya Yoga we not only reduce these afflictions and their powerful effects, we also cultivate clarity within ourselves. We become more sattvic, we become clearer, our hearts are revealed to us, and something very truthful radiates from within.
How wonderful to have a place to dig deeply, along with our fellow seekers, and to explore the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and other inspiring texts. A place to explore how we can invite these teachings into our bodies, hearts and minds so that we are learning to practice and live in such a way that these teachings come off the page and into the present moment of our lives. It is about encountering texts both old and new, asking ourselves to hug or embrace what it is that we are encountering with our hearts wide open, our minds also open, and then witness what comes from being willing to let go, dive in and dig in to the great mystery.